First look at Tesla’s adaptive suspension for the Model S and X refresh

(Credit: DÆrik/YouTube)

A recent video from a Tesla owner-enthusiast has provided a first look at the electric car maker’s newly-introduced Adaptive Suspension system for the “Raven” Model S and Model X. When Tesla announced Adaptive Suspension, the electric car maker described it as a system designed to give drivers an “ultra-cushioned feel when cruising on the highway or using Autopilot, and a responsive, exhilarating confidence during dynamic driving.”

Tesla owner-enthusiast DÆrik was fortunate enough to get his hands on a recently-bought Tesla Model S Long Range (formerly the 100D), which was equipped with 21” wheels. A comparison between the suspension on older Model S and the new “Raven” Model S clearly showed that the new vehicle had a completely different suspension setup. Quite interestingly, the Adaptive Suspension system in the Model S Long Range looks quite similar to Maxwell Technologies’ own Active Suspension system

Tesla described Adaptive Suspension in the new Model S’ user manual:

“ADAPTIVE SUSPENSION DAMPING: Choose from STANDARD or SPORT to adjust the feel of the suspension system. STANDARD provides a softer and more fluid ride whereas SPORT provides a firmer, more controlled ride that increases driver engagement and connection to the road.”

A road test comparing the vibration levels of the newer Model S and an older Model S showed that the newer vehicle was capable of offering a much comfortable ride. The Tesla owner-enthusiast tested the new Model S on both Sport and Standard Adaptive Suspension settings, and both were notably smoother than the ride offered by an older Model S. The “Raven” Model S used in the test was equipped with 21” wheels as well, which are not optimized for comfort. With 19” wheels, the new Model S would likely have offered an even smoother ride.

A graph showing the difference between the vibration levels of the new ‘Raven’ Model S and an older Model S. (Credit: DÆrik/YouTube)

As with many of Tesla’s new features for its vehicles, Adaptive Suspension is specifically designed to be upgradeable through over-the-air software updates. As such, more improvements to the system could be expected in the near future.

Being closely related to the Model S and Model X’s ability to “sense” the road, the system could work very well with Tesla’s neural network improvements. Tesla describes Fully Adaptive Suspension as a system where the car’s software will determine a vehicle’s dampening based on calculations of road conditions. A neural network trained to determine these road conditions ahead of time, and then preemptively adapt the suspension without input, would be a perfect matchup for the technologies. This could ultimately ensure that when Tesla rolls out its Full Self-Driving suite, Model S and Model X owners can be assured that their ride will be as comfortable as possible.

Watch DÆrik’s first look into Tesla’a Adaptive Suspension system in the video below.

First look at Tesla’s adaptive suspension for the Model S and X refresh
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